Although you do not have to become a registered nurse in order to become a nurse - you can work as a practical nurse - most people prefer to pass their registered nursing license examination, as that would open more career options for them. Some nurses start out as a practical nurse, but later on in their career take a bridge program to become an RN.
What are the prerequisites for registered nursing?: High School completion-The first step in your nursing education would be to become a high school graduate or something that is similar. It is also ideal to have good grades as most nursing schools have high standards, and it also helps to have first aid training, basic life support and real interest in providing health care. Taking up Biology courses in high school can also help in the foundation of your nursing career. You should also study Math, English, Science, and Social Studies. It is recommended to take also some foreign language course.
RN School Accreditation - Accreditation for any RN school is very important as it guarantees that the program offered by the nursing school actually meets the nationally established standards for nursing education. In United States, Independent national organizations accredit registered nursing schools through a rigorous application process, and accreditation must be renewed every 5 to 10 years. Most states in United States generally look for those students who have completed their RN program from accredited schools. As a result you must attend an accredited institution to be eligible for most financial aid programs. Not all schools have this accreditation. So, the best feasible way to find out whether a school qualifies or not is you can just give a call to the state nursing board and ask. Some State or Country nursing boards perhaps can give you comment on any complaints or problems the school has if any. Tests Required for Admission - These days many nursing schools look for a pre-admission test given by the National League of Nursing (NLN). Apart from this, there may be other tests that you may be expected to pass before admission. Ultimately, you need to be sure of and know what these tests are and must be prepared to take them.
Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN). This is often the stepping stone for a nursing career. This is a two year course that covers all the basics in nursing. Students learn how to take care of patients and the basics in nursing. A lot of people go into this program and start their career with an Associate Degree in Nursing. After graduating in the program, you can then take an exam that you need to pass in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN). Later in your career you can take a RN-to-BSN bridge program to complete your bachelor's degree. Diploma in Nursing (this is a degree awarded by some hospital-based schools, similar to the ADN degree).
Other professionals who want to go into the health care profession can also take up accelerated degree programs. There are now BSN programs that are offered to people who want to take up nursing as their second profession. The registered nursing programs takes about 2 years and it's offered only to those who have bachelor's degree. Once you have your academic degree, you should pass the National Council Licensure Examination to become a Registered Nurse (this exam is also called NCLEX-RN). Upon completion of this exam you can work as a registered nurse.